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MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Feinberg
561-297-4194, sfeinbe4@fau.edu

FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing Co-Sponsors Conference on Human Trafficking

       BOCA RATON , FL (February 5, 2007) –Human trafficking is a growing problem, not just in distant countries, but here in Southeastern Florida. The focus of the first Southeastern Florida Conference on Human Trafficking is to discuss the role of frontline first responders in identifying and rescuing victims of human trafficking.   The event, co-sponsored by the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, will be held on International Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday, February 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the North Broward Medical Center, located at 201 East Sample Road, Deerfield Beach. The event kicks off an initiative to foster regional collaboration between first responders and the agencies and organizations that can intervene, rescue and provide victim services. There is no charge to attend the conference.

       The conference will train frontline first responders to identify and assist victims of human trafficking. Frontline first responders from Palm Beach, Broward, Monroe, Martin and Miami-Dade counties are invited to attend. These professionals include nurses, physicians, law enforcement officers, emergency medical professionals, clergy, social workers, mental health professionals, legal aid providers, community health and abortion clinic staff and other community workers. Contact with aware frontline first responders is often a victim's only chance to be rescued .

       The keynote speaker for the event is R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Florida. Acosta led the   initial campaign to combat human trafficking and prosecutes cases in Florida for the Department of Justice.

       Human trafficking is not the same as human smuggling. Victims of this crime are held against their will and kept isolated.   They often end up being sexually exploited as prostitutes or for pornographic purposes, or are forced to work as slave laborers in domestic servitude, migrant agricultural work, or in settings including sweatshop factories, restaurants and cleaning services. Victims suffer severe emotional abuse and are typically brutalized through rape and torture.   Women and girls who are forced into prostitution and become pregnant are often compelled to have abortions.

      No one knows the extent to which human trafficking exists across the world. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report, 600,000-800,000 persons are trafficked across international borders every year.   When domestic trafficking within countries is included, that number increases to 4 million persons .   The Central Intelligence Agency estimates that about 50,000 foreign-born persons are trafficked to the United States every year. According to U.S. Department of Justice, e ighty percent of these victims are female, and 50 percent are minors.

       Pre-registration for the Southeast Florida Conference on Human Trafficking must be received by February 12.   Nursing professionals can earn five continuing education credits (CEUs) by attending the event. Online registration, the conference program and information about obtaining CEUs are available at www.floridaslavery.org. The Office for Victims of Crime and the U.S. Department of Justice are providing a complimentary lunch to participants who pre-register. For further information, call   Nancy Fowler at 954-534-4694 or call 954-966-2997.

-FAU-

Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is committed to nurturing the wholeness of persons and environment through caring.

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